Sunday, February 25, 2007

Opposing Forces

Mass people clogging up the street, some fleeing, some fighting. It's a riot , possibly a protest gone terribly wrong. Some people are holding their hands up as if surrendering. Clouds of smoke rise in the air. Most likely tear gas to break up the crowd. Cobble stone streets, and the police with black helmets leads me to believe this is in Europe.
This image brings to my mind thoughts of Germany, and the wall that divided the country for so long. Could you imagine being separated from your family and loved ones by only a brick wall, and still not being able to see them, or touch them?Anger would be my strongest emotion, and it would be very hard to control it. The photo above represents the result of trying to control people excessively. The more you suppress, the more there will be rebellion.
Unfortunately, as with all riots and uprisings, there are always some innocent people that get in the mix. In the image you can see people on the right side, covering their mouths and crying. They are not involved in the main friction going on, but they are still affected by it; physically and mentally.
When I look at this photo it makes me sad. Why does it seem to always have to come to this? Is it man's inherent nature that causes us to classify and discriminate? Or is it outside influences that cause it? I can't say that we will ever know the answer for sure, but I hope we can work against it, and end up in a better world.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A Good Blog Site

The blog I went to was Pop Candy. It has a lot of normal conventions we see in blogs. First is that it has a title and description of the site. Pop Candy is one person's view of popular culture. It has a search bar, and a list of categories. You can click on a subject and all posts regarding that subject will come up. There are also hyperlinks to other websites with more information on the topic being discussed. There is also a photo of the author, which is common with blogs. The author also uses photographs when appropriate in the posts.
When visiting the site you can also see the unconventional components the author uses. This blog site is part of the bigger site of USA Today, so there is a USA Today user bar above the blog site. There is also categories by archives, so if there is a specific time frame you are looking for you can find it. There is also links to different websites that contain similar information and topics. This is something I haven't seen too much of, but I think it's a great idea, so that people can read about a topic from a few different perspectives.
The topics the author discusses are all popular culture, but it varies from movies, television shows, music, festivals, and more. The author sets it up by what is going on for that specific week. She uses a one on one form, like she is talking directly to the audience. She also uses a lot of reflection, added what she feels about certain subjects. She seems very organized in her thoughts, but presents them in a laid back way.
The blog is made for pepole who want to know all that is going on in the world of pop culture. If you want to know what movies are coming out, good new music, celebrity websites, etc. this is the place to go. This author doesn't seem to write just about things she likes, she writes about all aspects. And besides that, you can get to all other types of news, and blogs focused on a variety of different subjects. One post was just on the geekiest crossword puzzle. It contains most things interesting and entertaining.
This is a very well rounded website with good links and topics. This site has subject titles that are easy to understand. Before reading the blog you know what you are in for. The title is even explained. Also most of the content in the blog has a wide diversity. The author is not constantly writing about the same subject over and over. Each blog has a different focus, and appeals to different people, but still stays on the same main subject matter. It is also very well organized. The links to other information is easy to find. In reflecting on my own blog site, I feel I could make some changes to improve the appearance and usability of my site. I think a lnk to the main English blog would be a good idea. I also feel I can try and make my titles a little more informative.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Pathology, What is it?

Pathology is the study of pathogens (disease causing things). When most people hear the word they think of dead people; that is a part, but not all of it. I am now on my way to interview a pathologist, and tour a morgue. Dr. Meredith Lann is going to give me a tour of the pathology department and morgue at the University of Colorado Hospital. The hospital is located at the corner of Colorado Blvd. and 8th Ave. in Denver; this is also the location of Cu's School of Medicine, School of Nursing, and School of Pharmacology. It is a teaching hospital, and a location of medical research. (See above picture)

I miscalculated how long the drive was, and ended up getting here early. The building looks like a big cement block with windows from the side that I enter on. The pathology department is located on the second floor of the School of Medicine. When I walk through the doors it looks like a small hospital, with elevators to the right. I get in and go to the second floor, the halls are cluttered with metal cabinets that have pictures of different cells(microscope images) taped to the doors. I get to the pathology housestaff room and walk in. It looks like an office, with gray cubicles set up everywhere; it kind of looks like a big rat maze. A woman with green scrubs on walks in and shows me to Meredith's desk, to sit and wait for her. It's 12:20 in the afternoon.

And as I sit at her cubicle waiting; she isn't supposed to be here until one, I start to look around. At every desk there is a computer and a microscope. It's very quiet, all you can here is a hum from the neon lights, and slight murmuring from other people working at their desks. There is a tray full of slides sitting on her desk; on the slides are chunks of pink-stained tissue samples for her to look at and access. I look at the calendar on the wall of her cubicle: Thursday-cut brain. "Call" is written on various days through the month; this is when she is the one who is in charge of last night and STAT (emergency) cases. On the other wall is a chart with the common weights for human organs at different age and gender groups. Each cubicle has a sign with the name for whose desk it is, and what department they work for i.e.: dermatopathology(skin biopsies) and hematopathology (blood pathogens), showing how diverse the field is.

At one o'clock Dr. Lann comes into the office. She is in her early thirties with shoulder length, light brown hair. She wears slightly rectangular glasses and green scrubs; she still has marks on her face from the mask she was wearing during autopsy. I notice she has a very distended stomach, and I ask, "How far along are you?" She laughs a little and replies, "Seven and a half months. It's funny, I'll be doing some cutting during an autopsy, and he starts kicking." Dr. Lann is in her second year of residency, and is on the autopsy rotation. She has to do fifty cases before she finishes her residency.

She starts me on a tour of the floor. They have an office staff that answers the phones and helps with the paperwork. The office staff have their own office, and they were having a birthday party in there when we walked by; Dr. Lann made sure to get some cake later. The next room down the hall is called the "Gross Room", it has a double meaning: this is where they do gross, or general inspection of the organs, but it is gross because it contains a whole bunch of different body parts. When we walk in the door the smell of formaldehyde is so strong it takes my breath away. There are two stations in the room with vent hoods; A woman with short brown hair is working at one. She has a large mass of dark brown tissue that she is cutting pieces off of. Dr. Lann explains to me that when they need to look closer at a body part or organ, it gets sent here for processing; the woman was cutting slices of a pancreas that had a tumor in it. The slices of tissue will then be sent to the lab down the hall, where they stain the tissue, mount it on a slide, and send it back to the pathologist to look at and diagnose.

Around 2:00 pm we go back into the staff house room and sit at a conference table. This was no ordinary table; it has a microscope at one seat, but also 15 different eyepieces around the table. This means that 15 people can look at the slide at once. She puts in one of the slides from her desk; it is a piece of thyroid gland. The cells are stained a pinkish-purple color; the nuclei of the cells are a dark purple. I ask, "Why would you need to see this on a dead person?" Dr. Lann states, "We don't only deal with tissue from dead people, all pathology residents do clinical pathology rotation, which is biopsies, moles, pap smears, etc. from living people."

The last place she took me was the morgue, it was on the first floor, and not in the basement. The door leading to the morgue area was a heavy wood door with metal plating. It has signs that read: "Biohazard" and "Authorized Personnel Only". When we walked in I got hit with the smell of formaldehyde again, though not as strong; this area is much larger. There is an outside hallway before you get to the autopsy room. In this hallway is a table with gloves and disposable drapes to prep with before an autopsy. In the main room there are two metal tables with drains at one end. There is also a scale for the individual organs, and sinks with disposals for during processing. Dr. Lann emphasizes that when an autopsy is finished the deceased does look normal, if wearing clothes you can't even tell.

When I left at around 3:00 pm, I had a better understanding of the field. It is different than other physician specialties in the fact that it is more flexible. You can take time off when you need to; the dead people aren't going anywhere, but it is also very demanding. The treatment of patients ultimately depends on your diagnosis. And in the case of people that are already deceased, it explains why and maybe how to prevent it in another person. I asked Dr. Lann if there is ever trouble with the patient's family. Dr. Lann said, "Most families want to have an autopsy now, not just to find out why, but because they feel it's a way to help others, and give back to the medical community." Yes, there is gross stuff, but in doing the tour, I found there is much more involved.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Uncreative Interlude

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Sunday, February 4, 2007

Why would you want to do that?

When I grow up I want to be a pathologist. People hear what I "want to be when I grow up" and they usually ask "Why would you want to do that?" I'm focusing my observational essay on the Pathology department at the University Hospital to hopefully answer that question for people.
With the subject I picked, my audience could have a little trouble understanding some things about it. One problem would definitely be the terminology. There are some good websites to help with understanding the medical "lingo"(Click here to see site- this would be a good place to review after reading the essay, but I'll try not to use too much, if I can help it.) Another thing you may need to understand is my attitude towards pathology. Most people hear this word and think "dead people." This is a big part of it, but pathology is also what diagnoses diseases in live people as well. The pathologist is the person who ultimately diagnoses cancer. They help save people before it gets too far, and I just want to help people in these ways.
I'll admit when I hear forensic pathologist, the first thing I think of is a dark, neon lit basement, with dripping pipes and a musky smell. I'm sure other people think this way too. Some mad scientist cutting up dead bodies, but I expect for it to be very different in real life. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there will be some cadavers involved, but I don't think it will be that much. I believe, from what I've researched, that the majority of a pathologists time is spent in a lab, looking through a microscope, analyzing things on a cellular level.
Another misconception that has come up recently is that forensic pathology is like the popular T.V. show: C.S.I.I would love it if the city actually had the money to provide the high-tech labs they have in that show. In reality, a lot of tests have to be sent to different labs around the country, because no one can afford the machinery to do all the tests at one location. There will be some high-tech stuff, but not to the extent in that show.
I hope that in reading this post some things will be cleared up, and some views may change before reading my essay. If any other questions come up in reading, a great website to answer medical questions is Web MD.